……..And then there was Jawaharlal !

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
13 November 2014 00:22 IST

In the great smithy of the Indian freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi fashioned a historic gong. Into its making went many metals – the gold of his struggle in South Africa, the steel of his campaign in Champaran, the alloys of the Rowlatt Protest and the Khilafat movement.

And in his efforts, he drew upon the talents of his cherished colleagues – Dr Rajendra Prasad from the East, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel from the West, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from the North, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari from the South ………..and then there was Jawaharlal – who belonged to nowhere. Not to India alone, not to Britain, not to America …. And yet….who belonged to everywhere.

Yes. Jawaharlal belonged to entire humanity. He was every man and every woman. India took a small fragment of his mind, but a large fragment of his time.

And yet Gandhi knew, as he said himself: “He is pure as a crystal. He is truthful beyond suspicion. He is a knight sans peur, sans reproche. The Nation is safe in his hands.”

So once the gong was ready, Gandhi placed in the hands of Jawaharlal the hammer to strike it with!

And the way Jawaharlal struck the gong in the Lahore Session of Indian National Congress, the world woke up and listened! The resonance of Poorna Swaraj vibrated across the Nation!

With a linguistic flare that put the British to shame and catapulted Jawaharlal to the list of the English élite, the Indian Declaration of Independence drafted by him, stated: “We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them, the people have a further right to alter it or to abolish it ……”

Descended from the proud line of Kashmiri Brahmans, Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14th November 1889 in Allahabad – the city where Ganga and Yamuna converge. He was the son of Motilal Nehru from his second wife Swaroop Rani Thussu. Motilal’s first wife Bhonashuri Devi died during the birth of a still born. Jawaharlal had two younger sisters – Saroop (later Vijayalakshmi Pandit) and Krishna (later Krishna Hatheesing) – who were born in 1900 and 1907 respectively.

Loathed by the reactionary creed and loved by those seeking peace, knowledge and humanism, Jawaharlal evokes a strange blend of emotions from Indians all over the world. On pg 895 in their classic “Sources of Indian Tradition”, an American group of scholars headed by Wm Theodore De Bary says – “India has been quite fortunate in having Jawaharlal Nehru as her Prime Minister since receiving independence in 1947, for he has provided the dynamic leadership necessary to preserve national unity and accelerate economic progress. His sponsorship of a “third force” of Non Aligned Nations and his role as mediator between the Western democracies and Communist powers have enhanced India’s position in world affairs. His commitment to uphold Parliamentary government and to defend civil liberties constitutes, during his lifetime, one of the strongest bulwarks of democracy in India.”

In contrast to the theory of Vivekananda and others to whom India was important in the world for her “spirituality”, Nehru saw India as an emerging "giant of world affairs", and able to stand on an equal footing with any other Nation.

In his book “Independence and after” pp 231-33, Nehru says – “First of all the emergence of India in world affairs is something of major consequence in world history. We who happen to be in Government of India or in this House are men of relatively small stature. But it has been given to us to work at a time when India is growing into a great giant again. So because of that, in spite of our own smallness, we have to work for great causes and perhaps elevate ourselves in the process.”

Nehru abhorred political groups that based their power on membership of a particular religious community – whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh. With the same logic Nehru opposed Jinnah’s demand for a separate Muslim State tooth and nail. In his “Recent Essays and Writings” pp 76-77 he wrote “It is an undoubted fact that many a Congressman has unconsciously partly succumbed to communalism and tried to reconcile his nationalism with this narrow and reactionary creed. A real appreciation of its true nature would demonstrate that there can be no common ground between the two. They belong to different species. It is time that Congressmen and others who flirted with Hindu or Muslim or Sikh or any other communalism should understand this position and make their choice. No one can have it both ways, and the choice lies between political and social progress and stark reaction”

Such was Nehru.

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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Previous Comments

You are right Zor radta pejek, and that's the reason all khaki chaddi hate mongers now need Nehru, Patel and other icons of Indian National Congress.

All they have are rabid and half baked intellectuals like Golwalkar, Deen Dayal Upadhay and now Deenbandhu Batra.

On one hand they justify killing of Gandhi and on the other Gandhi is venerable to them .

These are fork tongued guy who were with Congress and now with BJP to pick up the crumbs of power thrown at them,

- rajan kamat, mapusa | 17 th November 2014 10:50


Congress Party founded by Nehru's daughter in 1969 dumped an forgot Panditji. The new culture of the new party with same name was not meant to carry forward Nehru's mission. Now some people who are displaced from power are crying for Nehru who never belonged to them. In Konkani we call it "Zor radta pejek".

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 16 th November 2014 03:25


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